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Eating by Texture

By: Beth Morrisey MLIS - Updated: 7 Mar 2024 | comments*Discuss
Eating Texture Food Taste Disordered

Eating by texture can be a type of disordered eating. Individuals who engage in eating by texture make their food choices based on how food feels in their mouths rather than by its nutritional value or even by its taste. However, eating by texture may also indicate other conditions so those who notice loved ones rejecting or accepting food based on texture should investigate why this is so.

Eating By Texture and Disordered Eating

Eating by texture is a common type of disordered eating. When it is not indicative of another condition, eating by texture means that an individual has decided to sort his or her food choices by the way that foods feels rather than by how it tastes or if it is required for a balanced diet. For example, some disordered eaters may choose only foods that require chewing with the thought that this action may burn extra calories.

Other disordered eaters may choose only foods that “squish” in their mouths because they prefer that feeling to foods that “crunch.” While there is nothing inherently wrong with enjoying some textures over others, if this preference leads to eliminating foods required for healthy eating then it will adversely impact the body and overall health.

Eating By Texture and Other Conditions

Eating by texture, while a common type of disordered eating, may also indicate another condition. For example, some individuals with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)/Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) report a hypersensitivity to the texture of food that makes certain foods intolerable to them.

Sensory Integration Disorder can also leave individuals unable to tolerate certain textures of food. Individuals with Rett Syndrome may also have a low texture tolerance as related to their food. Because there are obviously reasons other than simple disordered eating that may be related to eating by texture, further investigations should be carried out when eating by texture is noticed.

Overcoming Eating By Texture

It may seem that eating by texture can be overcome by simply learning to appreciate different food textures, but this is not so easy when a food texture can make an individual choke, gag or even vomit. Some individuals may be able to consciously begin to add more foods and textures into their diet but others may need professional help to explore why they react so violently to certain foods. Still others may find that changing the texture of a food, such as by making smoothies out of crunchy fruits and vegetables, can help them add nutrients to their diet without having to eat a texture that they do not enjoy.

However, forcing someone to eat foods with textures that are despised is not a good idea as it will likely lead to that individual avoiding the food even more. Rather, those who eat by texture must be the ones to decide that they want more food choices in their diet and to design, or seek help to design, ways to make this possible.

Eating by texture is a common form of disordered eating but it can also indicate other conditions. Individuals who eat by texture may benefit from professional help in finding out why they eat this way and how they can overcome it.

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Hi I've avoided soft textured food forever. My father also & he has this full blown, only eats crunchy things.Over the decades it's got better for myself mainly due to nutrition value however aubergine, squash, courgettes & baked beans absolutely forget it still.Stumbled across this when researching calcium deficiency, yet I eat plenty soft cheeses + natural yogurt now dispite texture, interesting read, thank you!
Christie - 7-Mar-24 @ 5:37 AM
I don’t like most veg. The only raw veg I can eat is cucumber. Cooked, I like carrots, cauliflower, baby corn, onion (if it’s well cooked and/or small enough), and cabbage (if I mix it with a sauce. I hate crunchy things in soft things. For example, if I’m eating noodles and there are green onions in it, and I chew and hit the green onion and it crunches, my jaw will lock up and my appetite will pretty much be gone. I wish it wasn’t like this, I don’t know when it started, and it breaks my heart when my dad cooks dinner and I end up leaving most of it because of the veg. I’m about to go to uni and I’m thinking of doing recipes where I can blend up veggies I normally hate into a sauce in hopes of maybe getting better with veg.
Mollsypops - 26-Jul-21 @ 10:21 AM
@Hamzad I agree meat tastes disgusting and I hate it. It feels too think and rubbery in taste. It makes me puke. I have just become vegetarian now as I cannot tolerate meat at all.
jim - 30-Mar-21 @ 12:10 AM
I also have this issue. I absolutely hate eating mayonnaise, egg yolk or anything like that. The smell and texture makes me gag. I don't know why. How do I overcome this?
Jakey - 27-Mar-21 @ 9:36 PM
I’m glad I found this. I cannot tolerate meat. Unless it’s thin and something is with it like bread. I hate the texture is stringy. I cannot tolerate shredded cheese or gritty cheese. Feta is hit or miss. I do not eat pizza with cheese on it. Bacon is hit or miss. I eat mostly fruits, vegetables, beans or nuts. I’m under weight because of limited items I can tolerate. I’m so glad I found this.
Hazmad - 10-Dec-20 @ 2:15 AM
I’m not quite sure if this is me but a lot of foods I used to enjoy I just can’t tollerate anymore, whether it’s the texture, the noise other people make when eating it or the smell. For example I can’t tollerate popcorn, any pasta (other than noodles), toast, anything with a crunch or grinding noise, I can’t stand bananas or anything that feels squeaky, most fruits are off putting to me and so are deserts (anything sweet) but what’s funny is that I used to enjoy a lot of these foods and now I can’t stand them? It’s quite odd.
Rayden - 1-Dec-20 @ 1:42 AM
This is me with slimy textures. I can't eat eggs (mainly wites) , jelly, cooked onions - my worst is mushrooms. Can't get them past the back of my throat. Can't eat banana unless I know every skin string is gone and can only suck the juice from oranges, can't eat the segments
Bobbi96 - 14-Nov-20 @ 5:21 PM
I finally feel like I have just read something that actually describes how I feel when it comes to food. I don't eat any fruit because the texture to me if ville. Apple's are like biting into packing peanuts which automatically makes me feel sick. Oranges, bananas, grapes... They all have a texture I hate! Same with veg. Meat also is a texture that makes me gag. I can only eat chicken if it has been beaten and all stringy texture is removed. If I find a stringy bit, that's me. Burgers have to be fine and flat so I can deal with that texture... Steak and the like is a no go for me. It feels like wood shavings in my mouth. My diet consists of junk because the texture suits: it's usually uncomplicated in texture. As a result I am far heavier than I'd like.
Peaches - 24-Oct-20 @ 10:04 AM
I hate the texture of foods like tomato, bell pepper, grape, etc. I also can't eat mac and cheese unless it is diluted with water or mashed potatoes with chunks. Slightly unrelated, but I have to auditory phobia of mac and cheese. Another food I can't stand the texture of is oranges and everything in that family. My issue is that most websites say that certain eating disorders pertaining to food texture can cause the person to not want to eat and lose a lot of weight. I am the opposite, because the only food that isn't a texture that I hate is junk food. I don't know what's wrong with me.
Rei - 6-Oct-20 @ 12:46 AM
I love lost of squishy foods but can’t stand a banana or avocado.I will totally vomit if I try to eat.I love lots of cooked and raw veggies but I cannot tolerate an onion cooked or raw.I adore the flavors of them, (often cook in a base and blend b4 adding other food) I feel the same about celery.I love the smell of celery and what flavor it gives food but can not tolerate the strings or the crunch. I wish I could eat raw tomatoes, they are so pretty and healthy.Yet every time I try I gag and vomit.I’ve been trying to “ get use” to them like once a month but I never get far enough to swallow a bite b4 the worst happens.I don’t like being this way, I wish I could learn to tolerate these foods.Oddly when it comes to apples I LOVE the skin, Infact I couldn’t enjoy an apple without it.Sometimes I get a skinned pack of apples from one of my kids fast food meals and I can’t stand rn without the skin.Nauseates me.I’m crazy I guess ?????
Nikki - 19-Sep-20 @ 5:26 AM
Jello, pudding and bananas make me gag. I love the taste of all three and will eat all of them but I gag while doing it. It's the texture.....
Trish - 18-Sep-20 @ 8:41 PM
I always gag when I try to eat mushy, overcooked rice. I'm glad I'm not the only one. My mom thinks I'm being picky but she's being dumb and I realize that I really can't stomach mushy rice by seeing this article.
Nekochan - 8-Sep-20 @ 3:30 AM
I am so happy I found this outi am really picky with anything that has a squishy texture like bannana, avocado etc. and as soon as I see a bannana I will keep a very far distance because I would start gagging and would not bring myself to even touch it. I also hate trying new things and gag as soon as it enters my mouth even if it good I I'll spit it out straight away.
Lianarechi - 28-Aug-20 @ 1:46 PM
I just cannot eat fruit it makes me gag. I like the taste of the juice, its the cells bursting that make me gag. Tried the normal fruits and they just turn on me.
Nofruitbat - 17-Aug-20 @ 9:57 PM
My issues contradict each other a bit I think? And I’m not sure why. Like. I HATE anything with a gummy texture like gummy bears/worms. I HATE squishy soggy cooked veggies. I can’t eat any veggies raw either really. There are only a couple fruits I can eat. But even with those, after a couple bites it starts bothering me. I LOVE potatoes and Mac and cheese. Chicken is very hit and miss. If the texture is even kind of off it’ll make me sick. I can’t eat beef unless it’s cooked thoroughly through, even though all the flavor is best when it’s slightly pink still. The texture of pink beef makes me gag. I can’t eat lettuce, onions, peppers And many others in any way shape or form. I like zucchini if it’s chopped up really thin and fried so that it’s crunchy. Same with tomatoes.
help????me - 26-Jun-20 @ 7:38 PM
OMG I can finally explain why I’m a picky eater ??, I’ve been looking for research on kinds of stuff like this forever.it’s not about the taste of the food for me it’s the texture I hate anything that seems oily and stuff,’ eg cheese, mayonnaise, butter etc .and also foods with weird shapes like macaroni or foods with a soggy texture like Oatmeal, custard if I see things like that I can’t help but feel like puking or feeling disgusted but sometimes I can force myself if I don’t see it physically like I can eat jam in doughnuts but I can’t spread it on my bread sinceI’m seeing it physically in the jar it just disgusts me. I can manage to eat a doughnut with jam in it but still my mouth doesn’t like the texture but I can force itsince I did not see the jam In it physically,It’ll still irritates my body tho but the fact that I did not seethe jam makes it better, I ate doughnuts with jam in it yesterday I saw the jam and I can’t stop thinking about how disgusted I am by the texture
Lucid - 2-Jun-20 @ 1:12 AM
I hope this will be helpfull to some of you , i dont eat ANY fruits or vegetables only some lletuce on ceasars salad and only the really thin and soft pieces i suffer from rosascea and lately it was getting really bad and killing my self estimeand in an efford to add some fruits to battle the inflamation i discovered smoothies but since im extra picky the only fresh fruits i add in the smoothie are strawberries and bananas which both get really mushy so the other fruits i add are dry fruits and encountering them in the smoothie give you the texture of biting a gummy bear of like gelly stuff but not in a disgusting way like tomatoes.
Extremelypickyeater - 18-Apr-20 @ 11:16 AM
I have an issue with certain vegetable textures. It's mainly the crunch I guess. Some of it comes from forced, shamed into, eating as a child. I'm 59!! I want to incorporate more vegetables. I NEED to incorporate more vegetables. I've tried. For some, like green beans, if I cook the texture out I've cooked the nutrients out. What's the point then? This goes for onions, put in EVERYTHING, peppers, carrots and other root vegetables, squashes, tomatoes ( I know, that's a fruit ), and basically any vegetable that my body needs. What do I eat? Lettuce. Cold green peas smothered in mayo, green beans cooked to nothing, raw (ONLY!) spinach, and that's about it. It is crippling as others have said. Help? I'm ready to try hypnosis!
Veggie shame - 11-Apr-20 @ 5:34 PM
Ever since I was 3 I have had texture problems. I mean, if I was allergic to gluten, I would probably be dead already. My family tries to get me to try things, but I can always tell by the way they look its not gonna work out. Like, whenever I even think of egg salad or colslaw I nearly throw up. I prefer crunchy foods, and right now I have decided I need to lose weight. I dont eat fruits or vegetables, I like potatos depending on how they're cooked, and sometimes really sweet strawberries. I used to hate scrambled eggs, but now I eat them again. Im thinking about trying bell peppers maybe? But I'm not sure. If I am ever able to eat like everyone I know, my family would be so happy. (My dads side is sicilian, and we make food all the time) but they eat practically everything. My brother eats everything. And on my moms side, my nana forced me to try natural peanut butter, (i had tried it several times before, its a texture and flavour thing) even after I kept telling her I had tried it before. Help?
Angela - 2-Apr-20 @ 7:31 AM
Squishy foods are extremely hard to eat, even if I like the flavor I begin the gag as it goes down... after two bites I have to completely throw the food away. Crunchy foods I have had no problems with at all. I’ve enjoyed bananas but when I start thinking about the texture as I eat it, I begin to gag or sometimes when I’m not eating just the thought of it I begin to gag. It’s embarrassing to eat out in a group and I tend to eat like a child because it’s the less risky choice. I never considered it to be an eating disorder, just told myself I was picky. I’ve read a few people’s responses and they seem pretty similar to my story.
Sam - 23-Mar-20 @ 2:58 PM
I have no problem eating Olive Garden bread or any other garlic bread as long as it has a lot of flavor. But when I decide I want a bacon egg and cheese Biscuit, (because I love them) I’ll start gagging on the bread. I’ll be enjoying my sandwhich and then all of a sudden I’ll start gagging. Especially if I notice the texture of the bread in my mouth!
Brook - 12-Mar-20 @ 10:22 AM
I can't eat anything rubbery, or too chewy that my brain has decided shouldn't be chewy. Like mushrooms, green pepper with the skin, shredded coconut, chicken liver, or fat from meat. They all feel too strange in my mouth, and sometimes make me gag. Mushrooms that are battered well, and fried I can eat and enjoy. Green peppers I can't seem to enjoy even though I've tried. Shredded coconut feels like I'm eating grass or hair, and is uncomfortable in my mouth. Fat is COMPLETELY!~ an absolute no go! My teeth can't chew it, it slides against them and my gums, EVERYTHING~ about it just feels WRONG! I cut it off, or rip it with my teeth if I have to, it just feels wrong.. And my family thinks I'm crazy, and says "It's the best part!" and that I take it to the extreme to be dramatic. Am I crazy?
KittKatt1229 - 17-Feb-20 @ 7:07 PM
I can’t stand the texture of most fruits. The only fruit I ever really eat are blueberries, and they are almost always IN something else. Not too long ago I ate a cherry, and it tasted so good, but the texture was so horrible. I also can’t stand the smell of a lot of fruits too. I like the flavor and smell of cherries, oranges, and probably some others I can’t think of at the moment, but the texture just pushes me away. I have to take a vitamin C pill because I don’t get enough, and I wish I could take the texture of oranges so I didn’t have to take them. What in the world is wrong with me!!!
Maggie - 15-Feb-20 @ 11:51 AM
Can't eat most squishy foods like cooked squash or zucchini with the soft seeds. Can't eat anything that is off-color. I do not eat the middle of sandwiches and burgers unless it's a peanut butter and jelly.
Cait - 26-Jan-20 @ 7:14 PM
The texture of onions and peppers makes me sick I hate it I don't know what to do
Elle - 12-Jan-20 @ 4:04 AM
To me I can't handle squishy foods and I don't like mixing my foods. One of my biggest problems is orange juice, and peaches in smoothies. When I go to drink it has the aftermath texture thats left on your tongue of when you puke. Other food problems is I can't handle a lot of oil/greasy foods or my stomach will start to hurt and I'll need to take tums. There's a lot more I could add, but all of it makes my mom question what foods do I even like.
Kat - 13-Dec-19 @ 6:46 AM
I apparently have issues because I can’t eat cruchy foods it’s so unsatisfying. Like toast, bacon, cruchy cereal. My cereal literally has to be under the milk first (not soggy) but soft. I hate hearing people cruchy their food too. It’s all about that soft food!
Faith - 7-Dec-19 @ 9:20 PM
I’m 29, 5’5, and only 105lbs. I have struggled with eating texture my whole life. Mushy foods are very hard for me. I gag trying to eat a banana for example. I don’t enjoy how mushy it is. I love crunchy things though.I don’t like seeds either. So I can’t eat a lot of fruit because the seeds in my mouth will make me want to throw up. What is causing this??? There’s got to be something that we are all dealing with somehow! How is it doctors can’t help... i wonder if this is a new phenomenon
Jennifer - 8-Nov-19 @ 10:04 AM
I don't want any kind of food in my mouth. Ice cream boost Gatorade yes. I try to put food in my mouth and it just seems to get bigger and I have to get rid of it. Losing weight like crazy. This only started about a year ago.
Oreos mom - 5-Nov-19 @ 1:17 AM
I can't eat tomatoes. I can eat tomato sauce, tomato paste, all that but I can't eat tomato pieces, the feeling in my mouth when i bite into diced tomato, tomato chunks, stewed tomato, it all makes me feel sick to my stomach. My mother is absolutely heinous about this. I'm pretty sure I'm an adult with autism, I know I have ADHD. What can I do to eat the tomatoes so my mother is happy with me?
El - 23-Oct-19 @ 3:23 AM
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